A young person

It's Normal....Right?

You may want to say “not my kid” (watch Not My Kid: What Every parent Should Know).

It is important to ask questions and not minimize or judge your teenage child to find out more. Ask directly if they are considering killing themselves and if they have a plan. You may think that talking about suicide might cause suicide, but it will not, you will identify if help is needed and give your child an opportunity to talk if they have concerns. It may be a relief for them to not have to bring it up, have someone listen, and get help.

A conversation like this may mean things are okay or it may mean you need to continue and get your child more help, either way, asking is the first step at preventing any harm coming to your child.


Know the F-A-C-T-S about the warning signs:

Feelings: are they different? Do they show hopelessness, loss of control, worthlessness, anxiousness, fear, anger?

Actions: is the young person talking about death, suicide? Has there been withdrawal from normal activities, use of drugs or alcohol, taking dangerous risks?

Changes: in personality, behavior, eating or sleeping habits, interests in friends or activities? A sudden improvement? Giving away prized possessions?

Threats: Statements or gestures such as “life isn’t worth it” “death would be better than this,” threatening or getting a weapon or drugs to harm themselves.

Situations: Were there major events that may have affected the young person? Loss, trouble in the home, trouble at school or with the law, a break up, or any other sudden unexpected change

Now What?

Ask directly:

  • Are you hurting yourself?
  • Are you considering suicide or killing yourself?
  • Do you have a plan?

Seek Help

Find local resources, call the suicide prevention lifeline for guidance, talk to your family physician, or call 911 if you or your child is at high immediate risk. Visit the Suicide Prevention website for additional information.